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March 02, 2007

Our Town - In Song


What it's like to grow up with Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Thornton Wilder. Dick talks with the executor of Wilder's literary estate, nephew Tappan Wilder.

Tappan had no idea his Uncle Thornton was a famous writer until one Christmas.  Tappan was 12 years old. He watched a swarm of press and crowds surrounding the man he just knew as simply a joyful and exuberant presence in his life.  

Thornton Wilder's most famous work "Our Town" has now been made into the opera "Our Town: A New American Opera".  Librettist JD 'Sandy' McClatchy, also happens to be a poet and Thornton Wilder scholar and fan.

Sandy joins the conversation and explains how he talked Tappan into approving the opera, even though Thornton Wilder had turned down proposals to do it during his lifetime from musical luminaries like Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein.

The music for the opera was composed by the prolific Ned Rorem, whom Time Magazine called "the world's best composer of art songs".


Daniel Livingstone's story could be filed under the 'near miss' category.  It was November, 1960. He was conducting field research in Africa with his work partner, Joe. They had to row out to the middle of a lake, to take soil samples from the lake bed. It should have been a routine day of work. But a crocodile had other ideas.


Ah les crocodiles by Chansons et comptines de notre enfance for the album Chansons et comptines de notre enfance

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